Miscarriages can rock your world in so many different ways. For us, this couldn't be truer. Our two miscarriages were so completely different, and we had polar opposite reactions, feelings, emotions and experience to go along with them. But let's go back to the beginning. We spent most of our trying to conceive years not getting pregnant, not once, not even one faint pink line. We're talking 5+ years- from late 2008 to early 2014 wondering why - we were "healthy", everything was there and in working order, so WTF.
We went through a horrendous round of IVF that answered a question we weren't even asking. We were merely told: you're unhealthy and you're making shitty embryos. Not by our doctors, they just said it was one of those things, and nothing could be done (read more about that journey here). But we couldn't be naive about the four low grade, very fragmented embryos. So we took matters into our own hands, switching clinics and went onto a Paleo type diet. Our next round of IVF was much more successful - 5 healthy embryos, but we were still left with a BFN, and our unexplained infertility was still the elephant in the room. We finally did immune testing (which we were told we weren't candidates for because I didn't have reassuring miscarriages) and there it was, our answer - THE answer - High NK Cells. My bodies immune system was so out of whack; it wasn't even entertaining the idea of allowing a foreign invader hang around. But this didn't mean I never got sick- far from it (you can read more about that here).
Because it took us so long to find our answer, you can imagine there was a lot of time spent confused, angry, hurt, and well let's just face it - drunk as f*ck. So when I finally woke up to the fact that all these emotions weren't doing me any favours, I went on an emotional Hippy journey to get my happiness back (you can read more about that here). Infertility had taken over my life and not in a very positive way. So I started journaling, meditating, yoga and just trying to be an overall better person. Along with this, we worked hard on our new diet and used immune surprising drugs and went to do our first Frozen Embryo Transfer. Two weeks later we got the phone call that it all had paid off and we FINALLY got our first BFP.
During the three week wait we were posted to a small beach village in the north of Wales and now lived 4 hours from our clinic. So the morning of our seven-week scan, we were up early to drive to the clinic and then making our way down to London for a day enjoying the tennis at Wimbledon. I was grateful that my husband was there with me (something that doesn't always happen) and hopes were high. I can't really say I felt pregnant, but I was just trying to stay as positive and not focus on symptoms. Our clinic is small, homely place, so we didn't wait long, and I soon found myself in the familiar position of being half dressed, legs up and spread open wide! But that's where the fun ended, and our dreams were once again smashed. The nurse said she needed to call the doctor in, which is never a good sign. The doctor confirmed there was no heartbeat and that was that.
Tears did fall, but not hard. The hippy journey I talked about before helped me to to be grateful that my body was able to get pregnant. Something I thought for six years couldn't happen. I know most women don't want to hear "well at least you know you can get pregnant." I get it and respect that, but for me, that's ALL I wanted to know. So as we drove down to London obviously deflated, but we talked about the future, and it looked bright. The next day we had a good time at Wimbledon, sat in the rain getting drunk on beer not watching much tennis. Looking back it was probably the most appropriate situation to be in to suit our mood(s).
I decided to have a natural miscarriage, as I had had enough of strangers looking up my lady parts and couldn't bear the thought of any more hospital time. It took a few weeks for my body to process all the synthetic hormones and start the process. Not sure why my clinic didn't warn me, maybe it's not their area of expertise - but f*ck me. Long story short, I basically went into a mini labour - contractions and all and passed a small sack. To say the least, it all came as a big shock and hurt like hell. To make matters worse, I was on my own in a tiny remote village in North Wales. So a day of hell quickly claimed down, and the next day I went out like nothing ever happened. I felt good and was happy that it was all said and done.
Needless to say, I overdid it, and at 3 am the next morning I started to bleed heavily and ended up driving myself 30 minutes to the ER, just in case something was really wrong. I had zero knowledge about what was going on; I didn't even Google early miscarriage at any point from finding out there was no heartbeat. I let my husband know what was going on via text and 12 hours later I was given the all clear and drove myself home to have a few days of complete rest - luckily I did the shopping the day before - insert roll of the eyes here. I was grateful I knew the pregnancy wasn't viable before all this happened - I had a few weeks to work on the emotional side of dealing with it all, so the fact I had to deal with the physical side by myself was that much more manageable.
So my first pregnancy and my first miscarriage go hand in hand. As sad as it may have seemed, the whole situation gave me my hope back. It gave me the drive to keep fighting. Because to be honest I don't think I would have had any left if I didn't get pregnant on that round. I now knew focusing on my health outweighed all the inconvenience and decided to even go deeper with my journaling, meditation, yoga and diet - going full AIP. I committed to absolutely NO cheat days January 1st, 2015 - a whole three months before we started our second FET. All the hard work and scarifies paid off (along with the support of immune-suppressing drugs) - December 2, 2015 (7 years after we started our journey) we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into our family.
I truly believed that the diet and lifestyle changes not only helped us achieve our goal but also was going to put us on the right path of improving not only my fertility health but my overall long-term health. So when we went into our third and final FET, we were highly confident and I once again committed to (as such as possible with a toddler in tow) a clean lifestyle three months before we started the process. We made it through and got another positive result. But it was short-lived, a week later I had an early miscarriage, which came on quickly and to be honest, nothing worse than a regular period. I arranged for a confirmation scan (that's what I called it) at my clinic a few days later. Luckily the scan was conclusive, and no signs of an ectopic pregnancy were present. They took blood, and my beta came back at 10. I was asked to come back in for another blood test (they like to see it at 0). I politely declined and said I was confident my body would get there and felt confident that it was on it's way to being all said and done.
So that was it, THE END and it was the end of a very long emotional and expensive journey. So physically this miscarriage was quicker and easier, but it hit was harder emotionally in a few different ways. One- we were overly confident that it was going to work. We thought we knew the correct formula (having achieved a successful outcome before), we did everything "right" in regards to diet and lifestyle and had not only one, but two beautiful embryos put back in. Surely at least ONE of them would stay strong- right? Secondly; it was our last embryos we had on ice, so in our heads that was our last shot - we had already decided we weren't going to do any more treatment. Again, my hippy journey helped me to stay grateful that we were walking away from it all with a beautiful, healthy baby boy and I was beyond happy with that.
I will always wonder what those two babies (along with the four embryos that were put back in, before we found out about my overactive immune system) would have been, but it's not something I think of often- to be honest, I can't even remember my due dates. The emotions dealing with the two failed IVFs and the two miscarriages will forever be a part of me, but I've chosen to put my life into perspective. This has had a very powerful and positive effect on my life. I've decided to live my life along these lines: "The Universe does not deal in kindness and cruelty. Defining the experience is your karma." - J. Rush. As much as the years of BFNs and not knowing were hard, the two failed IVFs were frustrating, and the two miscarriages were painful, I personally feel it wasn't and still isn't the worst thing that can happen in life. Not that its a comparison or a competition to who had it worst, not at all - I know some have had it a lot harder and a lot easier. It's simply just the way I've decided to define my experience. I've chosen to walk away from it all, with the understanding that life will forever be filled with good and bad, but it's your choice how it defines you.
Please remember that this is simply my story and what I have gone though. These are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. I am open to change, challenges and new scientific developments. What works for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor and all medical advice, should be gotten from a qualified professional. If you feel like your doctor isn't reading from the same nutrition and lifestyle book as you are (or want to be), go find one that is!
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